Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis typically caused by
In diagnosis, it must be distinguished from other types of
arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis
(second-most common type, affecting younger adults and juveniles),
and various types of secondary arthritis that
are caused by an underlying condition:
reactive arthritis caused by an infection,
psoriatic arthritis from psoriasis,
gonococcal arthritis from gonorrhea,
Other possible conditions with arthritis-like symptoms
include ankylosing spondylitis (affecting the spine) and gout.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.
This is the form that usually comes with age and most often affects
the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows an
injury to a joint.
For example, a young person might hurt his knee
badly playing soccer. Then, years after the knee has apparently
healed, he might get arthritis in his knee joint.
A sports injury to a knee when a person is young can lead to athritis years later.
Rheumatoid arthritis happens when the body's own defense system doesn't work properly. It affects joints, bones, and organs--often the hands and feet. You may feel sick or tired, and you may have a fever.
Other conditions can also cause arthritis. Some include:
Gout, in which crystals build up in the joints. It usually affects the big toe.
Lupus (LOOP-us), in which the body's defense system can harm the joints, the heart, the skin, the kidneys, and other organs.
Viral hepatitis (VY-rul HEP-ah-TY-tis), in which an infection of the liver can cause arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis can make it hard to hold a pencil or a brush.
Do I Have Arthritis?Top
Have a fever.
Have trouble breathing.
Get a rash or itch.
These symptoms may also be signs of other illnesses.
Having stiffness or pain when you move could be a sign of arthritis.
What Can I Do?Top
How Will the Doctor Help?Top
How Should I Use Arthritis Medicine?Top
What If I Still Hurt?Top
Take a warm shower.
Do some gentle stretching exercises.
Use an ice pack on the sore area.
Rest the sore joint.
If you still hurt after using your medicine correctly and doing one or more of these things, call your doctor. Another kind of medicine might work better for you. Some people can also benefit from surgery, such as joint replacement. 1
Researching symptoms of Osteoarthritis: Further information about the symptoms of Osteoarthritis is available including a list of symptoms of Osteoarthritis, other diseases that might have similar symptoms in differential diagnosis of Osteoarthritis, or alternatively return to research other symptoms in the symptom center.
Misdiagnosis and Osteoarthritis: Research more detailed information about misdiagnosis of Osteoarthritis, underlying causes of Osteoarthritis (possibly misdiagnosed), or research misdiagnosis of other diseases
Treatments for Osteoarthritis: Various information is available about treatments available for Osteoarthritis, prevention of Osteoarthritis, current research about Osteoarthritis treatments, or research treatments for other diseases.
Statistics and Osteoarthritis:
Various sources and calculations are available in statistics about Osteoarthritis,
prevalence and incidence statistics for Osteoarthritis,
and you can also research other medical statistics in our statistics center.
1. excerpt from Do I have Arthritis: NIAMS
Last revision: June 4, 2003
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